India embarks on mass evacuation as cyclone kills 8

Strong winds and heavy rain pounds Brahmapur in Odisha state

Strong winds and heavy rain pounds Brahmapur in Odisha state

The very severe cyclonic storm Titli carrying 165 kmph winds and heavy rain slammed into the Srikakulam coast before dawn on Thursday, leaving seven persons dead and a swathe of destruction in its wake in the district and in Vizianagaram.

With cyclone "Titli" over the Bay of Bengal Wednesday intensifying into a very severe cyclonic storm and moving towards the coast, the Odisha government began evacuation of people in five coastal districts.

"We believe that the entire state, except some western parts, is likely to receive rain throughout the day". Depending upon the rainfall, we may see some flood in coastal Odisha.

The students' union poll across the state scheduled for October 11 has been cancelled, Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday reviewed the cyclone situation.

The weatherman said cyclone Titli lay centred about 730 km south-southwest of Kolkata at 8.30 am Wednesday and is likely to cross Odisha and adjoining north Andhra Pradesh coasts between Gopalpur and Kalingapatnam by Thursday morning. Road and telecommunication has been disrupted in several parts of Gajapati district.

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Horticulture crops suffered extensive damage in Srikakulam district while paddy suffered damage in Vizianagaram.

Of the 15 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), 13 have been deployed along with the Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) at vulnerable places.

The severe cyclone weakened by Thursday night with wind speed reducing to 70 kph (45 mph) and it was expected to become a deep depression by Friday, the meteorological department said.

Those evacuated were accommodated in more than 1,100 cyclone shelters, state officials added.

Around three lakh people from low laying cyclone vulnerable areas of coastal districts have been sheltered at 1112 relief camps. A total of 105 pregnant women in Ganjam and 18 in Jgatsinghpur were shifted to hospitals.

Strong gusts caused a storm surge with waters inundating low-lying areas in the eastern states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, and the winds, on par with a Category 2 hurricane, wreaked havoc on infrastructure, blocking roads and hampering emergency work. According to the Bhubaneswar MeT centre, Balasore received 116.8 mm of rainfall, Paradip received 110.9 mm of rainfall and Gopalpur received 97.7 mm.

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